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Quote board: Kyrie Irving addresses the media for first time as a member of the Mavericks

Irving spoke about a range of topics.

Kyrie Irving addressed the media for the first time as a member of the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. In the 15-minute session, Irving spoke about a range of topics, including his pairing with Luka Doncic, his reasons for leaving the Brooklyn Nets, and his promotion of an antisemetic film and subsequent deletion of his Instagram apology to the Jewish community.

The following are excerpts from his press conference. You can watch the whole video below.

On becoming a Maverick

“I’m super excited, grateful for the opportunity, um, really feel wanted and, and I know that they had to give up some pieces for me to get here, so I don’t take that for granted. Um, shout out to Mr. Cuban. Shout out to the whole entire front office, uh, at the Dallas organization. Um, and I’ve been here for about 48 hours or a little bit more than that. And, uh, it’s been nothing but a warm embrace and nothing but genuine love. So I’m just taking it one minute at a time and, uh, just focus on what I can control, which is how I prepare. And, uh, just coming in every single day and being consistent.”

On deciding to leave Brooklyn

“I think I’m gonna use this opportunity to just talk about the business that we’re in. It’s, as a player, it’s very emotional because you build lifelong relationships and you wanna hold onto ‘em. And it’s a brotherhood, it’s a sisterhood. We all love each other and in unconditional ways when we wanna see each other do well. So you know, the reporting and, and the journalism that was gonna come out of why I left. I knew that was gonna be speculation. You know, but for me personally you know, just sitting in the seat today, I just know I want to be in a place where I’m celebrated and not just tolerated or, or, or just, just you know, kind of dealt with in a way that doesn’t make me feel respected. And there were times throughout this process when I was in Brooklyn where I felt very disrespected and my talent. I work extremely hard at what I do.

No one ever talks about my work ethic, though. Everyone talks about what I’m doing off the floor. So I just want to change that narrative, write my own story, and just continue to prepare in the gym. And now that I’m in Dallas, just focus on what I can control, like I said. And you know, I’m always gonna be close with those guys in Brooklyn, just like I’m close with the guys in Boston, just like I’m close with guys in Cleveland. You know, it is a team competitive sport, but we care about each other’s families way more off the course. So I know those ex relationships will extend off. And I’m just focused on preparing to win.”

On his conversations with Luka Doncic

“I text Luka. He texted me. So just waiting to see him in person. I don’t really do the phone calls and text messages that are bogus. I like eye to eye contact and me and people and embracing them in a different type of way. And it’s just more human that way. More real.

On his relationship with Nico Harrison and Jason Kidd

Well, Nico and Jason, I know that they’re gonna push me beyond kinda where I think I am right now. And that’s the type of mentorship and guidance that I feel like I need at this point in my life. I’m not a kid with an NBA dream anymore. I don’t, I don’t wanna dream in this space. I, I wanna win and I wanna win with guys that exemplify greatness every single day. And it’s not just on the court, it’s in their professionalism. It’s how they treat others, it’s in their relationships. And it’s genuine and authentic. So it was, you know, light in my eyes that, you know, came in when I was playing. I was actually at West Orange High School in my hometown just playing up and down with a few guys just trying to stay in shape. Cause I was unsure about when the trade was gonna happen. But when Dallas called my agent, it was definitely exciting because I didn’t have to force anything. I didn’t have to overthink it. I just flowed into it. They wanted me, I, I want to be here. And this is just kind of where we stand at this present moment. And just take it one day at a time.”

On deleting his Instagram apology to the Jewish community

“I delete a lot of things on my Instagram. You know, I’ve, I’ve had things that have happened before in my life, probably not as drastic of that moment which led to a lot of confusion and uncertainty I felt like and what I meant and what I stand for. And I had to sit up in these mics and explain to the world who I am when I know who I am. So you know, I delete things all the time and it’s no disrespect to anyone within the community just living my life.”

On whether he stands by his apology

“I stand by who I am and why I apologized. I did it because I care about my family and I have Jewish members of my family that care for me deeply. Did the media know that beforehand when they called me that word, anti-Semitic? No. Did they know anything about my family? No. Everything was assumed, everything was put out before I had anything to say. And I reacted instead of responding emotionally maturely. I didn’t need to be defensive or go at anybody. So I stand by my apology and I stand by my people everywhere, all walks of life, all races, all religions, same thing.”

On if the Jewish members of his family were hurt by him sharing an anti-Semitic film

“I’ve had a lot of conversations about world history. What can, what was contained in there was contained in there. I didn’t agree with everything. I’ve been up here saying that I’m just gonna leave it at that. My family’s my family. If the media cared about my family, and actually, and I’m not saying all the media, I don’t want to get at anybody, but if specific media members actually care to do research instead of being the first to report things, then they would know where I come from. So the diversity of my family is beautiful and I’m just gonna continue to focus on them. And when I’m in the court try not to be distracted by y’all.”

On whether winning a championship in Dallas is realistic

“I think anything’s realistic. When you’re disciplined and you’re focused and you’re consistent and you prepare those are the, those are the things I feel like us as human beings, we can definitely control. So you know, how we approach every single game is gonna be led by J Kidd. I was following suit, following other coaches, following my teammates, and when I’m needed to play other roles, just do that. And I feel like some of the best teams in the league are the most selfless. They know the time and score, they have IQ and knock down open shots and they read the game very well. And it’s not just from a physical standpoint, it’s from a mental standpoint. You’re gonna be tested and any championship run is gonna challenge you all across the board and nothing’s gonna be perfect. So I don’t expect that. So the expectation, of course, is to work towards a re championship. Me saying here, we’re gonna win a championship is not gonna do anything. It’s just words. So I’d rather show you out there and just let the chips lay where they are.”

On his fit with Luka

“Yeah, it’s still a wait and see, but I think of myself as a hooper and me as a basketball player. Am I worried about us coexisting or finding cohesion? No. I’ve, I’ve played with some of the best of all time, greatest of all time. I’ve been on some of the greatest teams in the Olympics and in the World championship. So I think this is gonna be my first time seeing like one of those bad Europeans come over and really dominate up close and have the opportunity to do it at a pace that I don’t think has ever been seen for, seen before other than like Larry Bird or <laugh>, like somebody else that just plays at their own pace, scores a bunch of points and is constantly in that MVP conversation every year just because he commands that much attention. So as much as I can alleviate for him as, as I can lead alongside him, willing to do, but there’s no pressure here, nothing’s forced with me and him, I just wanna play basketball and enjoy his talent and enjoy my teammate’s talent and, you know, work towards the championship.”